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Opioid Facts and Resources

In recent years, opioids have become an epidemic in the United States. Opioids are medications that relieve pain and can include prescription drugs such as hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, fentanyl and related drugs. Heroin is also a type of opioid.

From The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

“The United States is in the midst of a prescription opioid overdose epidemic. In 2014, more than 28,000 people died from opioid overdose, and at least half of those deaths involved a prescription opioid. Many more became addicted to prescription and illegal opioids. Heroin-related deaths have also increased sharply, more than tripling since 2010. In 2014, more than 10,500 people died from heroin.”

Facts about Opioids:

  • In addition to reducing pain, opioids can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation, and, depending upon the amount of drug taken, can depress respiration. Taken as prescribed, these drugs can be used to manage pain safely and effectively. However, when abused, even a single large dose can cause severe respiratory depression and death. (National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA))
  • In the past decade, opioid prescriptions have increased by 300% and hydrocodone-based drugs such as Vicodin are now the most commonly prescribed drugs on the market. (Klean Treatment Centers)
  • About 2 million Americans are now in the throes of prescription opioid abuse or dependence, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, and more than 165,000 men and women died from a prescription opioid overdose between 1999 to 2014. (Health Day)
  • In the past year, 0.9% of 8th graders, 2.5% of 10th graders, and 4.4% of 12th graders from across the United States had taken Vicodin. Additionally, 0.8% of 8th graders, 2.6% of 10th graders, and 3.7% of 12th graders had taken OxyContin. (Monitoring the Future 2015)
  • In the 2013 and 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 50.5% of people who misused prescription painkillers got them from a friend or relative for free, and 22.1% got them from a doctor. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • Nearly 50% of young people who inject heroin start by abusing prescription drugs, and 4 out of 5 heroin users overall began using prescription drugs recreationally. Additionally, 2/3 of teens who abuse prescription pain relievers say that they got them from family or friends. (Partnership for Drug-Free Kids)

The physical & mental effects of opioids, via Business Insider:

Resources to learn more about Opioids:

Foundation for a Drug Free World – Opioids and Morphine Derivatives

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – What are Opioids?

NIDA for Teens – Opioids and Pain Relievers

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: Heroin and Other Opioids

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Opioids

Related Pelham PACT and Local Resources:

New York Sets a 7-Day Limit on Initial Opioid Prescriptions

Dispose of Old Prescriptions at Permanent Dropbox Locations

New York State I-STOP Prescription Monitoring Program